By Jack Etkin
“This kid’s coming.”
That was Rockies manager Bud Black's assessment of precocious Peter Lambert after a recent Cactus League outing. Lambert is the top starting pitching prospect in the organization. He heads a small group at the upper level of the Rockies’ system, a group that has been diminished for the best sort of organizational reasons.
Kyle Freeland, who turns 25 on May 14, and German Marquez, 24, are fixtures in the Rockies rotation after two seasons in the majors. Antonio Senzatela, is vying to be the Rockies’ fifth starter or win a bullpen spot. Regardless, like Freeland and Marquez, Senzatela, 24, who spent time with the Rockies starting and relieving each of the past two seasons, can be considered to have graduated from the minors, even if he begins the season at Triple-A Albuquerque to get regular work.
Lambert, Jeff Hoffman and Ryan Castellani are top-end starting pitching prospects. Lambert and Castellani will start the season at Albuquerque, as will Hoffman, if he doesn't win out as the Rockies' fifth starter.
The most intriguing of those prospects is the cerebral Lambert, who turns 22 on April 18 and is in his second big league camp, his first as a member of the 40-man roster. He had committed to UCLA when the Rockies drafted him in the second round in 2015 out of San Dimas (Calif.) High School and signed him for $1.495 million.
Black is impressed enough that he announced Thursday that Lambert will draw the start in Friday's game against the Royals.
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